Gerry Hiltjes found a business directory from the 1900. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Gerry Hiltjes found a business directory from the 1900. Picture: Cordell Richardson

'I tripped over this thing': Man finds piece of our history

It's not everyday you find a historical relic that recounts the history of Queensland 120 years ago, but that's exactly what happened to Gerry Hiltjes.

"It's got about 1500 pages, it's the complete Queensland Directory year 1900," he said.

"When I moved to Queensland in 1961, I moved to a house in Railway Street Booval.

"Next to me was a very old house, no one was living there, and it was covered in vines and grass - you name it.

"Every now and then I would see a couple of rats running around and I knew where they were coming inside the house.

"One night I went over to just chased them away, and I tripped over this thing that I fell over and I didn't know what it was.

"The next morning I went back to have a look at what I tripped over and it was a book - the directory."

Mr Hiltjes has since moved around Ipswich from house to house but has always held onto the book.

The Business Directory has everything about Queensland from the year 1900 - it even has an entry in it about the QT.

Gerry Hiltjes found a business directory from the 1900. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Gerry Hiltjes found a business directory from the 1900. Picture: Cordell Richardson

"Alphabetically it has every person that lived in Queensland in 1900, it's a business directory as to what business there were - to me it's history."

Mr Hiltjes over the years has helped his friends and the community find out things about their families through the directory.

"I've got some people and mates come to my place and every now and then we'll look for people's ancestors in it," he said.

"I've helped my friend find out his grandfather was a farmer."

Mr Hiltjes said he was surprised that the book had stood the test of time.

"I'm surprised it never got wet, it's in condition where it was and it's 120 years old.

"It needs maybe the cover replaced and spine replaced, but its still okay."

Read more stories by Samtui Selave


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